Vin Scully’s humble nature can’t mask his incredible impact

Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully, shown at a news conference in February, recently nixed the idea of naming a street near Dodger Stadium after him.
(Nick Ut / Associated Press)

I know, the cheeks hurt. A small price to pay. Smile all day long and it happens.

Since The Times’ Bill Shaikin broke the news that Vin Scully is returning for another precious season, it’s been difficult to hide the giddiness.

Despite all the adulation, all the kind words, cookies and praise, it must be impossible for Scully to understand the impact he has had on so many lives. He is not just the greatest baseball announcer in history, not just the greatest sports broadcaster in history, he is the most cherished person in Los Angeles history.

He must feel the love, but he seems forever embarrassed at the attention. He loves back, though, never doubt that.


So Friday came and the Dodgers officially announced Scully would return to broadcast their games for a 65th season. His day must have seemed familiar to him, save for the pregame news conference. Scully said he would rather the Dodgers had just mentioned it in a line of the pregame notes.

“Nice try about that one,” said Manager Don Mattingly.

After the news conference, I ran into Scully having dinner with his lovely wife Sandra and Dodgers co-owner Bobby Patton. He was gracious as always, accepting brief congratulations and then quickly moving the conversation to other things. Asking me how my injured arm was recovering.

Many years ago on a road trip in Atlanta, Scully had introduced me to the wonderful writing of Elmore Leonard – not through his crime thrillers but his amazing westerns – and we lamented his recent passing.


“I must have read a dozen of his books,” Scully said.

I mentioned that the excellent crime novelist Michael Connelly had written a superb obit on Leonard in The Times, and Scully knew the writer well.

“He came here once and interviewed me for Parade Magazine,” Scully said.

Of course he did. Scully has spanned generations, brought them together, given them a warmth and satisfaction that’s difficult to understand unless you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing it.


Later Scully was back in the booth. Back with his yellow-underlined game notes and scorecard, preparing for another broadcast, another sellout crowd filling the stadium before him. All, no doubt, with sore cheeks.